KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Farmers to begin mowing and haying roadsides

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Motorists are being reminded to be on the lookout for equipment that’ll be moving through Iowa’s roadside ditches soon. Bob Younie, with the Iowa Department of Transportation, says land owners and others who’ve obtained a permit are allowed to harvest hay from state highway roadsides. The annual program benefits both parties.  “It gives farmers a chance to get some hay and it also means the DOT doesn’t have to put labor into doing the mowing and cutting down tall grass,” Younie said. The mowing and haying of roadsides is not allowed to start until July 15.

Photo courtesy IA DOT

Photo courtesy IA DOT

“The reason for that is to give ground nesting birds, pheasants and so on, a little bit of maturity so they can get out of the way of mowers and haying equipment,” Younie said. There’s no cost for farmers to obtain a permit from the DOT to harvest roadside hay. The permit simply outlines where the mowing and haying is allowed and various safety requirements, such as the use of a fluorescent green vest.

Those doing any haying are also asked to move big bales as soon as possible. “We don’t want those sitting on the right-of-way for any extended period of time,” Younie said. Only one cutting in a roadside area is allowed per year. The roadside harvesting and mowing takes place each year between July 15 and September 1.

(Radio Iowa)

Stormy wet weather beginning to stress Iowa crops

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The trend toward strong storms and too much rain is beginning to take a toll on Iowa crops. Farmers report yellowing corn plants, a sign of too much moisture, and stress to soybean plants. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in its weekly crop update that 76 percent of Iowa corn is in good to excellent shape, a decrease of 3 percentage points from the week before. Soybeans are blooming ahead of schedule and 73 percent of the crop is good to excellent, condition, down 2 percentage points.

Farmers struggled to get into fields again last week, the third consecutive week farmers had fewer than three days to work in the fields. This time of year weed control spraying, adding supplemental nitrogen fertilizer, and baling hay are common activities.

Omaha-Council Bluffs lands international horse competition

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

While the World Cup soccer tournament is almost over, it’s being announced that another sport’s World Cup event will be held in Omaha-Council Bluffs. The metro area will host the 2017 World Cup Finals in equestrian jumping and dressage. Lisa Roskens, chair of the Omaha Equestrian Foundation, says there was tough competition from other cities around the globe.  “They selected finalists of London, Hong Kong, Omaha and a city called ‘s-Hertogenbosch, which is a horse mecca in the Netherlands that’s hosted multiple World Cups,” Roskens says. “We were really up against some stout competition and really, truly were the underdog in this bidding process.”

She says this will be a world-class competition that will draw up to 90-thousand people to western Iowa and eastern Nebraska.   “You will hear languages from every corner of the globe,” Roskens says. “It is a truly international championship and a very exciting competition. The other thing that makes 2017 such a special year is you will get to see the people that were just competing at the Olympics the previous summer.” She says she’s hoping this is just the start of something very good.

“The Midwest is a region ripe for this kind of competition and for this sport to grow,” Roskens says. “I really wanted to use this type of an event as a catalyst to grow our sport across the region.” The equestrian World Cup Finals will be held at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha March 27th through April 2nd of 2017.

(Radio Iowa)

New law allows for votes to increase corn checkoff

Ag/Outdoor

July 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — One of the new laws enacted this month allows an increase in the Iowa Corn Checkoff. It’s money collected from each bushel of corn sold to promote the grain. Checkoff funds have been used to promote ethanol, such as sponsoring an Indy Car race. The checkoff can only be increased after farmers approve it in a referendum.

The first authorization on the checkoff in 1977 set a maximum of 1 cent per bushel sold. In 2012 corn producers approved that amount, which meant state legislators had to update the law for the checkoff to go any higher. Corn promotion officials say they have no plans to increase the checkoff, which generates as much as $20 million a year.

Rain further eases much of Midwest drought

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

July 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A meteorologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture says near-record-setting rainfall last month has nearly eradicated residual drought from much of the Midwest including Iowa. All that remains of the drought in Iowa are two small areas of abnormally dry conditions, one in the southeast corner of the state, and one in the southwest corner. Some areas now have too much water.

Meteorolgist Brad Rippey says in a Wednesday report drought covers just 5 percent of the U.S. soybean area and 8 percent of the nation’s corn. Corn, rated 75 percent good to excellent, has not been rated as highly at this time of year since 2003. Soybeans, at 72 percent good to excellent, have not been rated as highly at this time of year in the last two decades.

Shelby County Fair Queen candidates

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Twelve young ladies from Shelby County will be competing for the queen crown at this year’s 2014 Shelby County Fair. After a vigorous task, the Shelby County Fair Queen candidates were nominated at the annual luncheon held last Saturday.Queen Contestants

The candidates include: Macy Bartley daughter of Lance and Shannon of Harlan; Mackenzie Goshorn daughter of Darren and Kaylee of Harlan; Chantel Schmidt daughter of Mike and Donna of Harlan; Carley McConnell daughter of Kevin and Shirley of rural Manilla; Marea Ferry daughter of Darin and Jill of Portsmouth; Liz Blum daughter of Brad Blum and Kim Johannsen of Shelby; Danielle Wingert daughter of Dan and Laura of Panama; Chelsea Assmann daughter of Larry and Chris of Panama; Lydia Madsen daughter of Todd and Angie of Harlan; Teresa Arkfeld daughter of Bill and Brenda of Portsmouth; Emily Pattee daughter of Cindy and Kurt of Harlan, and Lindsey Kaufmann, daughter of Leland and Lorene, of Harlan.

Each of the girls represent a 4-H club or FFA chapter. The candidates will walk on stage the evening of Thursday, July 10th to answer questions, with the winner being announced during the 2014 Shelby County Fair Queen contest.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Harlan CC approves trail work

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan City Council, Tuesday, approved work on the Pioneer Park walking trail. During their regular meeting, the council held a public hearing on the reconstruction project. Once the hearing was closed, the council adopted two Resolutions pertaining to the plans, specifications and form of contract for, the Pioneer Park walking trail.

The project calls for the current trail to be torn out and replaced with a 10’ concrete trail in the same length. Howrey Construction Inc. of Rockwell City, Iowa was the lowest bid at slightly more than $281,039. The plan moving forward includes tearing out the current concrete in mid- to late-August, pouring the new pathway, and completing all work by early September.

Howrey Construction has completed other such projects in Lake City and Denison.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Iowa’s first commercial cellulosic ethanol made

Ag/Outdoor

July 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A farmer-owned ethanol plant in northwest Iowa is the first commercial facility in the state to make the fuel additive from something other than corn starch.  Ethanol made from plant fiber is called cellulosic ethanol. It’s been in research for decades but production is expected to expand significantly this year. Several plants are in construction capable of turning corn leaves and stalks, wood scraps and even garbage into the fuel additive.

The Quad County Corn Processors plant in Galva has made Iowa’s first commercially produced gallons of cellulosic ethanol from corn kernel fiber. The plant, which has the capacity to make 35 million gallons of ethanol the traditional way from corn starch, has added equipment to make an additional 2 million gallons a year in cellulosic ethanol.

Produce, Pesticides Can Coexist in IA, But Only with Proper Planning

Ag/Outdoor

July 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa – The picnic tables will be loaded with fresh foods as friends and family gather for the Fourth of July, but some in Iowa believe there is a threat to the integrity of those locally produced fruits and vegetables. Donna Prizgintas, a chef in Ames who relies on fresh ingredients from area growers, said she has concerns about pesticide drift and residue for produce farmers, home gardeners and consumers.

“I think Iowans are not aware of … the levels of glyphosates and nitrates that are in our water, in our air,” she said. “Our food can be fairly pesticide-laden.” Glyphosate is a widely used herbicide and, in a recent assessment, it was frequently detected in Iowa surface waters, rain and air. The agricultural industry is vital to Iowa’s economy, Prizgintas said, adding that with better cooperation, pesticides and produce can coexist.

“Some farmers and companies spray very responsibly,” she said. “There are guidelines, there are registrations. You’re not supposed to spray if the wind is blowing. You have no-spray zones you’re supposed to observe – but regularly, there are mistakes.” Prizgintas said the careful application of pesticides will be even more important going forward, with the expected approval of corn and soybeans tolerant to the pesticide 24D.

“Now this may come as soon as next summer,” she said, “and this is adding a whole new pesticide to the equation.” The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship operates a registry for producers to list the locations of their sensitive crops, so pesticide applicators can identify those areas and minimize the potential for damage from drift.

More information is online at iowaagriculture.gov.

(Iowa News Service)

Stormy weather taking a toll on Iowa crops

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

July 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Preliminary rainfall figures show June was Iowa’s third wettest in the 141 years records have been kept, and all that much rain is damaging crops. It’s too early to tell the extent of damage from rain, hail and wind from the numerous thunderstorms in recent weeks. Farmers in some locations are reporting significant field flooding.

The most recent crop condition report released Monday shows 79 percent of the state’s corn crop in good or excellent condition and another 22 percent is fair. Soybeans are faring nearly as well with 75 percent good or excellent and 19 percent fair. Those conditions likely will change.

Iowa State University agronomist Mark Westgate says Tuesday the yield per acre for corn and soybeans will be reduced. It’s just too early to say how much.